Recent meetings between Juventus and Atalanta have been markedly tight affairs. Since a Maurizio Sarri-led Bianconeri beat Gian Piero Gasperini’s emerging La Dea 3-1 back in 2019, every meeting since – including last season’s Coppa Italia final – has either been drawn or won by a one-goal margin.
This trend is expected to continue on Sunday night when Massimiliano Allegri takes his bouyant Juve side to Bergamo for an “important but not decisive” Serie A bout in the context of the top-four, and potentially title races.
Inter’s draw with Napoli on Saturday evening has left the door slightly ajar for the Bianconeri. Win on Sunday, and they’ll move to within six points of the league leaders!
3 keys to victory for Juventus in crucial Serie A clash against Atalanta
Nevertheless, despite Atalanta’s recent indifference, claiming three points on the road will be no easy feat for Allegri’s men. In a game of fine margins, it may be one error or a stroke of genius that decides it.
Here are three keys to a Juventus victory against Atalanta on Sunday.
Runners supporting Dusan Vlahovic
For 60 minutes against Sassuolo in the week, Dusan Vlahovic cut an isolated and frustrated figure. He’d barely got a sniff thanks to his side’s erratic possession play and the depth of their block.
However, the dynamic altered completely once Alvaro Morata entered the fray. Vlahovic burst into life with the Spaniard providing some much-needed support in the front line and Juve were no longer so reliant on Alex Sandro down the left as a means of getting in behind the Neroverdi backline.
Morata’s willingness to run in behind is set to play a key role on Sunday. Such runs are necessary to disrupt Atalanta’s man-oriented press and ensure the hosts aren’t able to assert control via their work without the ball, as Hellas Verona successfully did for periods last weekend.
Juve often struggle against teams that press them high and, as a result, a more direct approach is taken in possession. While this ploy means the Bianconeri are limited to swifter attacks, the presence of two target men in the front three should allow for greater efficacy throughout the second half of the season. For Vlahovic’s debut goal, Juve went long from the goalkeeper, Paulo Dybala sniffed out the second ball and set free the Serb, who was running in behind an unbalanced Verona backline.
In Bergamo, I expect the visitors to mitigate Atalanta’s intensity by bypassing it altogether. Vlahovic will be targeted throughout, but the Serb is merely functioning as a decoy. The legitimate threat is Morata, who’ll be hoping to receive a flick-on from Vlahovic or a delicately weighted pass from Dybala.
La Dea’s aggressive approach should create high-quality chances for the Old Lady. They must be efficient in front of goal.